Samples Roundup: August 2017

     As a beauty junkie I am always gathering samples, which typically come with online purchases or when I’m interested in purchasing something from a department store. I outright refuse to subscribe to those sample boxes on principle; they’re meant to be free, for goodness sake! I thought it would be fun to share my first impressions on a week’s worth of samples and let you know whether or not I plan to purchase a full size of any of the products. For quick reference, WNR stands for Would Not Repurchase/Recommend and WR is Would Repurchase/Recommend.


  • Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion ($26*): I am one of those people who do not believe in eye shadow primers in large. As opposed to a facial primer, which provides a barrier between your skin and makeup, in addition to a variety of potential cosmetic and skincare benefits, a shadow primer really has no purpose in my mind. In theory they’re meant to increase wear time, keep your look from creasing, and amplify the colors that are layered on top of them. But in reality, if your shadows aren’t already doing all of that on their own, you need to try a different shadow formula! I reluctantly gave this a go, first with the clear “original” shade and then with a colorful “Sin” shade, which was pretty hideous to be frank. Both have a sort of tacky finish that I really dislike having on my eyelids (think Benefit’s POREfessional). My Too Faced Sweet Peach shadows, which normally go on beautifully on top of powdered concealer, tugged and pulled in strange ways. The color was inconsistent and patchy, and the fall-out was unbelievable (which I’ve never had an issue with before). With a low-pigment Avon palette I tested next, the primer didn’t help at all, and I had to pull in a second palette to get any color payoff – so why do I even need the dang primer? I remain convinced that eye shadow primers are unnecessary, and this one in particular was a great example of why. ALSO, can I just say how funny it is that UD included this sample in their own shadow palette? Like, are they so insecure of their own products that they recommend a primer automatically? I prefer their shadows without these, thanks very much. WNR
  • Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow ($25*): This sample came with three shadow swatches of MUFE’s Satin, Diamond, and Iridescent formulas. I found that all of them lacked any sort of “oumph” that would tempt me to spend $75 on a trio of shadows. S-102 was a low-impact, almost matte black. I-514 was actually a pretty highlight shade. And D-562 was an average sandy lid color. I found that all three faded drastically through the day, while really pissed me off because far cheaper shadows perform better on me. By the time I went to remove my makeup, I-514 was practically gone, and S-102 had been reduced to a pretty pathetic grey. WNR
  • Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream ($125*): With a name like that, I was really expecting to fall in love with the Magic Cream. I often see Charlotte applying this to clients prior to a makeup application liberally, and she loves to talk about how this is like drenching your skin with moisture. That’s nice and all, but I think that the thick, balmy texture isn’t exactly what I’d want under my makeup during the day, even with the built-in SPF. This cream was the opposite of the expression “a little goes a long way” – I had to use nearly the whole sample tub for one even application! The scent is nice, but I won’t be buying this. WNR
  • Cartier Baiser Fou ($137*): When I saw the notes for this new release I thought, “finally! A Cartier I’ll like!” White chocolate, raspberry, vanilla, and orchid sounds absolutely delightful, but… Something about the way the notes work together is very off putting, like expensive shampoo gone wrong. It is definitely classifiable as sweet and fruity, but there is something sharp and synthetic to it that gave me an instant headache. WNR
  • LUSH Cosmetics Prince Shaving Cream ($26.95*): They should rename this, “razors on bare skin.” It gave my razor no glide despite a heavy application, and the scent was practically imperceptible. WNR
  • LUSH Cosmetics Five O’Clock Whistle Shaving Cream ($12.95*): What a world of difference! Smells wonderful, and gave a smooth, even, easy shave. Can’t wait to purchase. WR
  • Bite Agave Lip Scrub ($20*): Bite is a great company, they’re Toronto-founded and have one of my favorite lipstick shades ever (the original Mauvember). Their products are also mostly natural and food-grade, so I was hopeful that this scrub would top my shopping list. Sadly, it was not to be. The scrub smells like maple syrup (fitting for its Canadian upbringing), and has a thick, syrup-like consistency with sugar crystals sparsely distributed between. I found that it didn’t scrub enough for my liking, and despite the appearance of the thick gel that binds it all together, my lips felt super dry afterwards. I almost wanted to go in with a secondary scrub! For the price, I remain hopeful that there are better options out there. WNR

     Have you tried any of these products? What have you been loving this season?

*Prices true at time of writing.

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2 responses to “Samples Roundup: August 2017

  1. With such low success rate, can you imagine paying for those samples?! 🙂
    The only type of the sample box subscription that I think might be worth doing is the one that gives you a $ off equal (or close) to the price of the subscription (e.g., Amazon does something like that for Prime members). Otherwise it feels silly to be paying for the privilege to try something to see if you want to pay money for the full size product.

    • You are so right! We sometimes forget that these samples are there for our convenience, and feel bad asking for them. This series has really taught me to value them, and you can bet I’ve saved $$$ by trying things out first.

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